BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 389


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          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS


          AB  
          389 (Chau)


          As Amended  September 1, 2015


          Majority vote


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          |ASSEMBLY:  |77-0  |(April 30,     |SENATE: |40-0  |(September 8,    |
          |           |      |2015)          |        |      |2015)            |
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          Original Committee Reference:  HEALTH


          SUMMARY:  Requires general acute care hospitals to post their  
          language assistance policies on their websites in English and up  
          to five of the other languages most commonly spoken in the  
          hospital's service area.  Requires the Department of Public  
          Health (DPH) to post each hospital's language assistance policy  
          its Web site. 


          The Senate amendments delete the requirement that language  
          assistance policies be posted on any replacement technology for  
          the internet and delete the requirement that the Office of  
          Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) post hospital  
          language assistance policies on its website.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, minor costs for DPH to post hospital language  
          assistance policies on its website (Licensing and Certification  








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          Program Fund).


          COMMENTS:  


          1)Purpose Of This Bill.  According to the author, California has  
            been a leader in ensuring that the state's healthcare  
            infrastructure meets the needs of Limited English Proficient  
            (LEP) patients, however existing practices for ensuring  
            hospital compliance with language assistance policy submittal  
            requirements lack central oversight by DPH.  The author notes  
            that by requiring hospitals to submit their language  
            assistance policies to both DPH and OSHPD, and requiring  
            hospitals, DPH, and OSHPD to post them on their Websites, this  
            bill will provide greater oversight and enable policymakers  
            and consumers to access information the law already  
            guarantees.


          2)Background.  SB 1840 (McCorquodale), Chapter 672, Statues of  
            1990, was implemented with the intent of increasing the  
            quality of care for patients with limited English proficiency,  
            however, as noted, DPH cannot issue fines and current law does  
            not require the notices to be posted on either the hospital's  
            or DPH's Web site.  DPH most recently sent an All Facilities  
            Letter on May 11, 2012, reminding all general acute care  
            hospitals to submit their language assistance policies on an  
            annual basis to their local Licensing and Certification  
            District Office; however, according to a survey conducted on  
            behalf of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPHEN),  
            hospital compliance has waned over the last several years.


          3)Support.  CPEHN is the sponsor of this bill and states  
            language barriers are correlated to higher rates of death and  
            illness.  CPEHN notes that patients who face language barriers  
            are more likely to have higher rates of hospitalization,  
            encounter drug complications, and fail to return for  
            follow-ups after an emergency room visit.  CPEHN contends that  
            by making language assistance policies available online, this  
            bill will provide consumers access to information already  








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            required by current law.


            Health Access California (HAC) also supports this bill and  
            writes, according to recent estimates, the majority of those  
            newly eligible for health care coverage under the Patient  
            Protection and Affordable Care Act will be from communities of  
            color and 40% of those newly eligible for subsidies in Covered  
            California will be LEP.  HAC concludes that making language  
            assistance policies available online will provide greater  
            transparency and oversight of a key accountability measure  
            serving the needs of LEP patients.


            There is no opposition to this bill.


          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Lara Flynn / HEALTH / (916) 319-2097  FN:  
          0001788